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José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero
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José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero

Term of office: April 17, 2004 – present
Preceded by: José María Aznar
Succeeded by: incumbent
Date of birth: August 4, 1960
Place of birth: Valladolid
First Lady: Sonsoles Espinosa
Political party: PSOE

José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero (born August 4, 1960) is the Prime Minister of Spain. His party, the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, won the general election on March 14, 2004. He was sworn in by King Juan Carlos I on April 17, 2004.

Notable actions of his of his government have included withdrawing Spanish troops from Iraq and legalizing same-sex marriages.

Zapatero's supporters describe him as a capable leader open to dialogue. His opponents say he does not have a serious program and was ill-prepared to be prime minister.

He is usually referred to as Zapatero, his second surname, which means cobbler in Spanish[1] (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Jos%E9_Luis_Rodr%EDguez_Zapatero#fn_ZapateroAtusZapatos). During the election campaign, his party came up with the slogan "ZP" ("Zapatero Presidente") and it is now frequently used as a nickname.

Contents

Early years

Zapatero was born in Valladolid to an affluent family with a long history of left-wing politics. His father, Juan Rodríguez García-Lozano, is a prominent lawyer, his mother Purificación Zapatero died in October 2000 [2] (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Jos%E9_Luis_Rodr%EDguez_Zapatero#fn_MotherDeath). Zapatero grew up in León from where his family comes.

His paternal grandfather, Juan Rodríguez Lozano, was a Freemason and a Republican captain who was executed by the Nationals during the Spanish Civil War, when Zapatero's father was eight years old [OCAM p. 54]. (It is believed that Zapatero is also a Freemason.[3] (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Jos%E9_Luis_Rodr%EDguez_Zapatero#fn_ZapateroMason))

Zapatero began his schooling at the religious primary school "Discípulas de Jesús" in September, 1966. In September 1970, he entered the "Colegio Leonés", the only private lay school in León at the time. [OCAM p. 59] He later went on to study law at the University of León, where he graduated in 1982. As a student, he admired the agrarian reforms of Mao Tse-tung and the Soviet Union [OCAM p. 71].

After graduating, Zapatero worked as a professor of constitutional law in the University of León until 1986. He has stated that the only activity that attracts him besides politics is teaching or, at most, academic research. [OCAM p. 98]

In October 1991, his contract was terminated by new rector of the University of León after the university's legal advisors determined that Zapatero's position as a professor and an member of parliament were incompatible (he had been elected in 1986). The legal advisors of the Spanish parliament had considered the contract valid, however.

Zapatero has never served in the army, although the military service was compulsory in Spain until recently. He received successive deferments because of his status as a university student, a professor and a member of parliament; finally he was given an exemption. [OCAM p. 82]

Zapatero enters politics

Zapatero's attraction for politics started very early. As a youth, Zapatero frequently discussed politics and other issues with his family. As he himself has said, "As long as I can remember, I had long conversations with my father and brother about politics, law or literature in the evenings." [OCAM p. 31]. That helped form his political views from the beginning.

They were also highly influenced by the memory of the Captain Lozano, his grandfather. An important element that kept alive his memory among his relatives was the holograph will he wrote 24 hours before facing the fire squad. In it, he requested his family to forgive those who killed him, proclaimed his belief in the Supreme Being, his love for peace, his wish to improve the living conditions of the lower classes and asked his family to clean his name in the future ([4] (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6733216/site/newsweek/)), . [OCAM p. 51 fol.].

Zapatero, accompanied by his family, attended his first political rally on August 15, 1976. It was a meeting organized by the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) in Gijón. Political parties had been legal since July 21, 1976 but the Socialist Party was not legalized until February 1977. The speech of Felipe González, the PSOE leader and future Prime Minister of Spain, who took part in the rally, exerted another important influence on Zapatero. He said, among other things, that "the Socialists' goal was the seizure of power by the working class to transform the ownership of the means of production" and that "the PSOE was a revolutionary party but not revolutionarist or aventurist [...], as it defended the use of elections to come to power". [OCAM p. 29 fol.]. At the time, the PSOE had not yet renounced Marxism as its ideological base (what happened at the end of 1979).

Although Zapatero and his family had been traditionally attracted by the Communist Party, as it was the only well organized leftist party before Franco's death in 1975, after the political rally in Gijón, they and, especially, Zapatero started to believe that the Socialist Party had the most potential for the Spanish left. [OCAM p. 111] At the time, the Socialist Party was rebuilding its infrastructure in the province of León after its near destruction after the Spanish Civil War [OCAM p. 110].

In 1977, the year of the first democratic elections after Franco, Zapatero supported both the Communist and Socialist Parties posting posters of both [OCAM p. 111] but he finally enrolled in the PSOE on February 23, 1979.

He soon gained prominence within his new party and, in 1982, he became head of the youth organization in the province of León.

In 1986, he was elected to represent the province of León in the Cortes (Parliament), becoming its youngest Member after the election held on June 20. He was the number two in the Socialist list of the Province of León. [OCAM p. 130] In the next elections (1989, 1993, 1996 and 2000) he was the party leader, as well as in 2004 elections when he ran for Madrid.

In 1987, Zapatero organized a coalition to obtain the mayoralty in León after the elections held that year. Zapatero and his allies justified the civic pact, as it was called by its supporters by stating that it was necessary to change the "negative dynamics" of the city, to "normalize" its democratic life, to end its "bad relations" with other institutions, such as the Regional Government of Castilla y León, to lessen the social tensions attributed to the independents, to eliminate the supposed system of patronage, etc. Months later the pact was broken by pressures from the Regional Leadership of Alianza Popular and Juan Moran became mayor again [OCAM p. 138 fol.].

In 1988 Zapatero was appointed Secretary General in León after a hard, complex internal fight for power that ended a long period of divisions and internal confrontation. The situation was so bad that Ramón Rubial, then national president of the PSOE, asked the party in León to foster unity before the provincial conference held that year that elected Zapatero. [OCAM p. 150].

At that time, Zapatero defined himself as a "left-wing conservative". He meant with that that he considered himself an heir of the Spanish left which lost the Spanish Civil War. He also made clear that that he believed the modern Spanish Left needed to modernize and to overcome many of its ideological parameters. [OCAM p. 141]

In 1993, the Socialist Federation of León (its acronym is FSL after the Spanish Federación Socialista de León) became embroiled a major scandal around the falsification of new memberships. On May 20, he held a press conference where he rejected every accusation. [OCAM p. 102 fol.]

Zapatero was finally reelected secretary general with 68% of the ballots in the 7th Regional Conference held in (July 1994), after the removal of the false memberships. [OCAM p. 100 & 192] In 1995 new regional and local elections were held. Its results were unfavorable for the Socialist Party in León as they lost four seats in the mayoralty of León and two seats in the regional parliament of Catilla-León. The results were influenced by the bad economic situation and the cases of corruption assailing the party. Zapatero had personally directed the electoral campaign. [OCAM p. 196]

In 1996, after the General Election, Zapatero kept his seat at the Congress of Deputies. Next year, in 1997 Zapatero was elected again Secretary General of León and after the national conference held by the party that year he entered the National Executive (the party governing body). [OCAM p. 203]

The Association of Parliamentary Journalists awarded to Zapatero the "Diputado Revelación" prize (something like MP surprise of the year) in December 1999 for his activities as member of the Congress of Deputies. Since 1996 until 2000, his most conspicuous contributions as an MP were his vigorous opposition to the electricity protocol proposed by the government (initially negative for the important coal sector of León), his being the Socialist Spokesman in the Commission of Public Administration [OCAM p. 200] and his probably most important success as an MP: the passing of an amendment to the national budget of 2000 in November 1999 that increased the pensions of the non-professional soldiers who fought for the Republic during the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939. They were made equal to the professional military.[OCAM p. 40].

Appointment as Secretary General of the Socialist Party

On March 12, 2000, the PSOE lost its second successive election to José María Aznar's People's Party. Zapatero kept his seat, but the Socialist Party as a whole won only 125 seats, 16 fewer than in 1996. The defeat was specially bitter as the People's Party unexpectedly obtained an absolute majority for the first time and the PSOE did worse than in the previous election. Joaquín Almunia, announced his resignation the of the election.

Zapatero decided to run for the leadership of the PSOE in its 35th Conference celebrated in June that year. He founded together with other socialist members a new faction within the party called Nueva Vía (New Way) in April 2000, to serve him as a platform to become Secretary General. The name of Nueva Vía is a mix of Tony Blair's Third Way (tercera vía in Spanish) and the Gerhard Schröder's Neue Mitte (new center or nuevo centro in Spanish). [OCAM p. 232] The groups formulated its objectives as "a project of political and social change for and from democratic socialism, a Socialist project to allow the PSOE to recover its credibility and the citizens' trust." [OCAM p. 234]

On June 25, 2000 Zapatero announced his intention to run for the Secretary General at a meeting in León [OCAM p. 244]. In his speech, he made a declaration of principles [OCAM p. 245]:

  1. To build a society that would accept all foreigners notwithstanding their color or cultural level.
  2. To give priority to education and to create good jobs for youngsters.
  3. To provide parents with more time to spend with their children and in taking care of their elders.
  4. To promote culture and its creators, making it possible for them to grab the spotlight from those aimed only at economic interests.
  5. To convert Spain into a country admired for helping those with more needs.
  6. To force the government to help those with initiative and enterprising qualities.
  7. To foster democracy, to lend distinction to politics and to promote values over temporary interests.

Zapatero was a dark horse who had against him his inexperience and in favor his image of renovation and being the only [Member of Parliament|MP] among the candidates. (All the Spanish opposition leaders have been MPs before winning the elections. That is very important in Spanish politics where electoral campaigns last for only 15 days and to be widely known long before they begin is essential.)

He won by a relatively small margin (he obtained 414 votes out of 995 and José Bono obtained 405) on July 22, 2000 [5] (http://www.elmundo.es/noticias/2000/7/23/espana/964312046.html)). After being elected secretary general, he was congratulated by Lionel Jospin (then the French Prime Minister), Gerhard Schröder (chancellor of Germany) and José María Aznar [OCAM p. 287]. He moved to Madrid with his family that year. As a congressman he had shuttled every week between Madrid and León. [OCAM p. 201]

Activities as an opposition leader (2000-2004)

At first, Zapatero claimed that his style would be relaxed and calm, aimed not at damaging the government but at having an approach as constructive as possible. He even coined the expression 'Calm Opposition' (Oposición Tranquila) and popularized the term talante (a Spanish word translatable as demeanor) to refer to his "open to dialogue", "soft", "positive" bearing. (He has insisted on his desire for dialogue with a special persistence.)

Because of this, as the Socialist Party did not initially seem to improve its popularity, he received nicknames like "Bambi" or "Sosoman" (where "Soso" -- meaning dull, insipid, boring -- replaces "Super" in "Superman"), especially in the first months after being appointed General Secretary. Soon, however, his activity gained momentum.

His first attack against the government was based on its inability to control the rise in the price of fossil fuel in 2000. He asked for a reduction in the taxes on it to compensate for crude oil price increases.

At the end of the same year, Mad Cow disease came back into the spotlight after its outbreak in 1996. Zapatero repeatedly criticized the Government's management of the crisis arguing that it was out of control [6] (http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2001/01/09/sociedad/979051673.html). The disease caused dozens of deaths all over Europe though none in Spain (April 2005).

In 2000 the British nuclear submarine H.M.S. Tireless arrived at the Gibraltar harbor to have its reactor repaired. Aznar's affirmed that there was no risk to the population but Zapatero criticized him for his inability to force the British government to take the submarine to another harbor. It finally became a point of great controversy that attracted public opinion for months and caused several demonstrations in the areas near Gibraltar. After almost one year, the Tireless was repaired and left Gibraltar without having caused any known problem. [7] (http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2001/05/04/espana/988995858.html) [8] (http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2001/05/10/espana/989488163.html).

Also in 2000, after several fatal terrorist attacks by the Basque terrorist organization ETA, Zapatero proposed the "Pacto de las Libertades contra el Terrorismo" ("Pact of the Liberties against Terrorism") [9] (http://www.elmundo.es/eta/docpactolibertades.html). Some prominent Popular politicians (such as Mariano Rajoy despised Zapatero's proposal at first as they considered it to be useless, but the agreement was finally signed on December 12, 2000. Its main aim was to coordinate both parties activities in order to foster their unity in the fight against terrorists. One of its primal points was not to use terrorism as a weapon for political confrontation. Zapatero's harder critics have defended that the Pact was originated by the wish of the two national parties to bury the Socialist ambiguity towards regional nationalism, as it could be then already expected the need the Socialists would have of approaching them (as, effectively, happened in Catalonia in 2003).

His collaboration with the government was not limited to the Pact against Terrorism. He also proposed the Popular Party a new pact to reform the Judicial System (the so-called Pacto por la Justicia), which was signed on May 2001. He proposed other two pacts as well: one related to the law regulating immigrants and other linked to the so called National Hydrological Plan. But, in these cases, there was not agreement. [OCAM p. 296]

The National Hydrological Plan has become an important source of friction and regional tensions in recent years. Its main characteristic, as it was passed by the People's Party government, was to transfer water from the River Ebro to other areas, especially those irrigated in the South East of Spain, one of the richest agricultural regions in the world. That scheme received support from, among others, the 80% of the affected farmers and the Socialist regional governments of regions such as Extremadura, Andalusia or Castilla-La Mancha, which were, among others, the target of the scheme. Some Socialist politicians had also supported the idea when they were members of the former Socialist government back in the 90s (e.g. José Borrell [10] (http://www.libertaddigital.com:83/php3/noticia.php3?fecha_edi_on=2004-08-26&num_edi_on=1436&cpn=1276231106&seccion=SOC_D)). The scheme was mainly contested by Zapatero, environmentalist groups, the Socialist regional government of Aragon and a part of the citizens of the areas from where water was to be transferred. The main criticisms against the scheme were the supposed damage to the environment and an argued lack of enough water for all of the affected parties. The proponents of the scheme answered back that there was no risk of a serious environmental damage and that in 2003 14 times more water reached the sea than what was needed annually. (The scheme, finally approved by the Government, was canceled by Zapatero soon after becoming Prime Minister.)

In 2001 one of the biggest sources of friction between the government and the opposition was the proposed reforms affecting the education system. The People's Party introduced the so-called LOU first, a law to change the University, and later the LOCE (Organic Act for Education Quality), which affected the Secondary Education. Zapatero harshly opposed both. The People's Party used its absolute majority in the Cortes to pass its reforms but after an important number of protests by unions of students, which enjoyed the attention of the public media although their protests had usually passed unnoticed until Zapatero's arrival.

A regional election was held in the Basque country on May 13, 2001. The socialist received 17.8% of the vote (against 17.6% in the previous 1998 elections) but lost one seat. Both, the Socialist Party and the People's Party had formed an alliance against the then ruling nationalist Basque political movements but they finally won again. The results were considered a failure [OCAM p. 319]. Nicolás Redondo Terreros, the Basque Socialist leader during the election and very opposed to the Basque nationalism and to ETA, resigned after some internal clashes, leaving his seat at the Basque parliament and in the Federal Executive. He was substituted with Patxi López, elected on March 24, 2002 [OCAM p. 320]. Patxi López had actively supported Zapatero during his campaign to become Secretary General [OCAM p. 257].

On October 21, 2001 took place a new regional election, this time in Galicia. The People's Party (led by Manuel Fraga Iribarne) obtained a new absolute majority. The Socialist party increased its number of seats from 15 to 17, but, after several years of being opposition the results were also considered bad. [OCAM p. 321]. These two negative results seemed to confirm that Zapatero's approach was not working.

On December 19, 2001 Zapatero traveled to Morocco, after the Moroccan government expelled the Spanish ambassador sine die. Javier Arenas, a prominent member of the People's Party, accused him of not being loyal to Spanish interests. Zapatero denied it and claimed that one of his purposes was to help solve the crisis [OCAM p. 327].

In 2002, Zapatero was chosen as the Socialist candidate for the next General Election. He was appointed directly, without a previous primary election [11] (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Jos%E9_Luis_Rodr%EDguez_Zapatero#fn_PrimaryElection).

In 2002 the People's Party Government decided to reform the system of unemployment benefits as it thought that there were too many workers who being able to find a job preferred to continue receiving public money. This led to a redefinition of who were eligible for unemployment subsidies. Left-wing parties and trade unions considered that redefinition an unacceptable reduction of rights. Zapatero became the political leader of the opposition against the reform (dubbed the Decretazo, becaused it was passed using a decree-law), which served him as his first important clash with Aznar's government.

A General Strike was announced for June 20, 2002 (the first since Aznar won the election in 1996). According to official data (including the electrical power consumption and the number of worked man-days calculated by the Social Security) the turnout was lower than 15%, the lowest since the restoration of democracy (there were four General Strikes during Felipe González premiership). The unions and Zapatero disbelieved the data and considered the strike a resounding success, with more than "10 million" workers. Whatever the result, both the People's Party government and the trade unions signed an agreement that satisfied both parties in November.

Felipe González declared in May 2002 in reference to the change in the Socialist Party that "My state of mind tells me that a change has taken place, that perhaps a second Suresnes [12] (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Jos%E9_Luis_Rodr%EDguez_Zapatero#fn_Suresnes) has happened, but it has yet to be proved that a new project with content and ideas really exists", thus doubting Zapatero's leadership. That declaration was expressed in a public event also attended by Zapatero, who calmly expressed his disagreement. González ended his intervention by remembering that his candidate for Secretary General was José Bono, not Zapatero. González rectified the next day affirming that either his words had been incorrectly construed or he had expressed his ideas erroneously. Bono himself confirmed his total support for Zapatero. [OCAM p. 310-311]

On October 22, 2002 Zapatero spoke in the name of the Socialist Party during the debate about the National Budget. It had been initially scheduled that Jordi Sevilla would be the Socialist spokesman but, in the last moment, he was substituted by surprise. When Jordi Sevilla, after being called by the speaker, had already descended to the floor of the Congress of Deputies, Zapatero said to him "let me do it" and climbed to the orator platform. Aznar and other members of the People's Party had previously criticized him for not representing his party in the debate, suggesting a lack of the necessary political skills. Zapatero tried to prove it was false, and it seems that his action had quite a positive effect over his supporters; although the People's Party considered his action too theatrical [OCAM p. 316].

In November 2002, the oil tanker Prestige suffered an accident in international waters[13] (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Jos%E9_Luis_Rodr%EDguez_Zapatero#fn_InternationalWaters) near Galicia (a region in the Northwestern tip of Spain), causing a grave oil slick which affected Galicia and in a lesser degree the northern coast of Spain and part of the southern atlantic coast of France. The governmental authorities deemed the tanker to be irreparable, as it was very old and in a very bad state, and decided to move it away from the coast, believing the decision would make it easier to recover the oil (that is easier to pick from the water than from the sand) and would reduce the number of irremediably affected places by increasing the total affected area. The Prestige finally split and sank after being tugged away several days.

Zapatero blamed the PP Government management during and after the accident [14] (http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2002/12/28/ciencia/1041089253.html). The decision to take the tanker away was especially criticized as Zapatero believed it to be unnecessary. Zapatero thought that, had the ship been allowed to enter a harbor, the worst consequences of the catastrophe could have been prevented.

The accident and its consequences became the main source of Socialist criticisms and the biggest friction point, together with Iraq, until the election of 2004. A Socialist MP in the Regional Assembly of Madrid, Antonio Carmona, declared soon after the catastrophe: "We have more than enough votes, if not, we will sink another boat". [15] (http://www.plus.es/codigo/noticias/especiales/fichanoticia.asp?id=201242&noti=202359). He resigned because of this declarations. Jesús Caldera, who became a minister after the victory in 2004, used a manipulated document relative to the route of the Prestige in a parliamentary debate about the catastrophe, what was very criticized by the People's Party [OCAM p. 340].

Probably, the main point of friction between Aznar and Zapatero was Iraq. Opinion polls showed that a clear majority of Spanish voters were against the American led attack against Saddam's regime (near or surpassing 90%). Among them, Zapatero who considered illegal any action against Saddam Hussein's regime and the very concept of preemptive war. Zapatero never made public his own solutions to solve the several problems affecting Iraq after its defeat in Kuwait such as the fear caused by the suspected existence of WMD or the embargo affecting the Middle East country.

His first clash with the United States is related to his stance about the war. On October 12, 2003 (Spanish national holiday) he remained seated before the American flag carried by a representation of the American army taking part in the annual military parade. He declared afterwards that his action was a protest against the Iraq war and not an insult to the American people.

On May 25, 2003 Local and Regional Elections were held all over Spain. The Socialist Party received a larger popular vote (what prompted Zapatero to claim his party had been the winner) but the People's Party obtained more government posts in councils and regional governments. In general, there were not too many changes in the results compared to those of the previous elections held in 1999. This was seen as a setback for Zapatero by his critics as his opposition activity had been very active, especially, after the Prestige catastrophe and the beginning of the Iraq invasion. In any case, Zapatero stated he firmly believed it was possible to win the 2004 General Election as, according to his opinion, the image of change was starting to be accepted by the Spanish people [OCAM p. 311].

Some interesting data was extracted from the outcome of the election. For example, the results in the areas affected by the Prestige disaster were especially good for the People's Party. Zapatero's opponents claimed that they proved that the Government handling of the crisis had been adequate and that Zapatero's criticisms had been demagogical.

Another interesting fact was the defeat of the People's Party in the Autonomous Community of Madrid. After the election, the People's Party lacked two seats in the Regional Assembly to obtain an absolute majority. This allowed an alliance of Socialists and Communists to grab the power. The situation was amply welcome by Zapatero for propagandistic reasons: until then whoever had won in Madrid had also won the next General Election.

But an unexpected event happened. Two socialists MPs (one of them Eduardo Tamayo, who had actively helped Zapatero to become Secretary General as it has been already related), allegedly angry at the distribution of power in the future regional government between the Communist Party (called in Spain Izquierda Unida, United Left) and the Socialist Party, started a crisis that led to the repetition of the Election in Madrid in October 2003 with the subsequent victory of the People's Party. At the beginning of the crisis Zapatero expelled José Luis Balbás (who together with Eduardo Tamayo, had decidedly helped Zapatero to become Secretary General, see: Appointment as Secretary General of the Socialist Party in this article) from the party, considering him to be part of the "rebellion" plot.

This event has been one of the most obscure in Spanish recent democratic history. Zapatero did not accept the version of the socialist MPs and tried to explain it through a conspiratorial plot caused by speculative interests of the house building industry that would have bribed the MPs to prevent a Left-wing government.

The People's Party, on the other hand, defended the theory that the anger of the two Socialist MPs was caused by a failed Zapatero's promise about the referred distribution of power within the Madrid section of the Socialist Party. That promise would have been made some months before the crisis in exchange of support for one of his more immediate collaborators (Trinidad Jiménez), who wanted to become the Socialist candidate to Mayor of Madrid (the Spanish capital).

Concerning the European Constitution, Zapatero criticized the People's Party Government attempt to preserve the distribution of power agreed by the Nice treaty (December 2000) in the new European Constitution. Zapatero thought that Spain should accept a lesser share of power.

On May 26, 2003 a Yakolev 42 plane carrying Spanish soldiers coming home from Afghanistan crashed in Turkey. The plane had been hired by an agency of the NATO and any other country could have used it. In Zapatero's view it presented clear dangers and he blamed Jose Maria Aznar and his government for neglecting aspects like the plane insurance or safety. After the 2004 March elections it was proven that there had been an important number of mistakes in the identifications of the bodies. [16] (http://www.wsws.org/articles/2003/nov2003/crsh-n25.shtml) [17] (http://www.el-mundo.es/documentos/2003/05/espana/accidente_ejercito/). The accident became a kind of second Prestige in the national political arena.

On September 25, 2003, Jordi Sevilla (later Minister of Public Administrations), believing the microphones were disabled during a press conference on the Socialist economical proposals, told Zapatero he had looked a little insecure and had made a couple of mistakes, adding that Zapatero needed only two afternoons to learn all the economy he needed [18] (http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2003/09/24/economia/1064428892.html).

On November 16, 2003 a regional election was held in Catalonia. Two days before, Zapatero had predicted a historical victory for the Catalan Socialist Party and the beginning of the People's Party defeat. The final results were 46 seats for a right-wing nationalist Catalan party called CiU (ten fewer than in 1999, the year of the previous election), 42 for the Socialist Party (ten fewer), 15 for the People's Party (three more), 9 for Iniciativa per Catalunya-Verds and 23 (nine more) for the Republican Left of Catalonia (probably the real winner). Zapatero attributed the bad results to the consequences of the crisis of Madrid. However, Maragall became the President of the Regional Government after a Pact with Republican Left of Catalonia and Iniciativa per Catalunya-Verds. [OCAM p. 342]

An important scandal started when the Spanish newspaper ABC published that Carod-Rovira, leader of Republican Left of Catalonia, had met some ETA terrorists secretly in January 2004. According to ABC, Carod-Rovira would have promised to provide ETA with political support if the terrorist group did not act in Catalonia what seemed to have been confirmed by the ETA announcement of a truce affecting only that region some months later, before the general election of 2004. Carod-Rovira resigned as vice president (conseller en cap) of the Catalan government, but continued to be the leader of his party. He recognized the meeting but denied an agreement had been reached with the terrorist organization. The scandal damaged Zapatero's image, as terrorism is an important problem in Spain and Carod-Rovira's party was seen as a possible socialist ally if Zapatero won the election.

In spite of all his activity as an opposition leader, the opinion polls always predicted a defeat for Zapatero, even though he enjoyed the support of an important part of the Spanish media and, especially, those belonging to the PRISA group such as the daily newspaper "El País", the chain of radio stations that form the SER (Sociedad Española de Radiodifusión) or the TV channel Canal+. The PRISA group is controlled by Jesús de Polanco (one of the richest man in Spain) who has been linked to the Socialist Party in the past years. It has been claimed that he controls more media in Spain than Berlusconi in Italy. [19] (http://www.abc.es/abc/pg050222/actualidad/comunicacion/200502/21/pp.asp).

During the period 2000-2004, Spain suffered a process of continuous political radicalization (a phenomenon observed even internationally, e.g., Newsweek article (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6733216/site/newsweek/)). It would have had as its main exponent the numerous attacks perpetrated against the Popular Party premises and its political rallies, especially, in the months before and during the Iraq war [20] (http://www.libertaddigital.com/php3/noticia.php3?cpn=1275756079) and, topping it all, the demonstrations held the day before the General Election of 2004 in front of the Popular Party headquarters all over Spain, as it is described later. Zapatero himself took part several times in public demonstrations where small groups committed acts of vandalism in a limited fashion. Some blame Zapatero for this radicalization (sometimes even claiming a supposed obsession with the Spanish Civil War). However, Zapatero continuously, as opposition leader, boasted of his self-proclaimed "love of dialogue", which he liked to contrast with the "arrogant", "authoritarian" approach of the People's Party and, especially, that of its (then) leader José María Aznar, who would have been the real person responsible for tension in Spanish political life.

The General Election of March 14, 2004

The campaign for the general election started a fortnight before March 14, 2004. The opinion polls were favorable to the People's Party, which, according to some of them, could even repeat its absolute majority.

Previously, on January 8, 2004, Zapatero had created a Committee of Notables composed of ten highly qualified experts with a considerable political weight. Its mission was to help him to become prime minister. Among their members: José Bono (his ex-rival for the Secretaryship of the party), Ibarra (president of the regional government of Extremadura and one of the most important socialist leaders), Moratinos (his current minister of Foreign affairs [April 2005]), Gregorio Peces-Barba (later appointed by him High Commissioner for the Victims of Terrorism), Carmen Calvo (later appointed Minister of Culture), etc. [OCAM p. 313]

Ten days later, on January 18, 2004, Zapatero announced that he would only become prime minister if the Socialist Party was the most voted political force, renouncing in advance to possible parliamentary alliances in other case. The decision was criticized by the minority parties (especially United Left) as they considered it an attempt to attract their voters, who would prefer to ensure a defeat of the People's Party even at the expense of voting for other party. [OCAM p. 317]

Once the campaign started, Zapatero's slogan was "we deserve a better Spain". Some of Zapatero's electoral promises were: 180,000 new houses every year to buy or to rent, preservation of a balanced budget with no deficit but with a more flexible approach than that of the People's Party, bilingual education, a computer per every two students, a maximum duration for legal processes of two years or financial compensation, more investment on R&D, to make the state-owned television company more independent from the government by making his director eligible by the parliament, etc. [OCAM p. 312]

During the campaign, Zapatero criticized the People's Party harshly for its management of the Prestige crisis, its attitude towards the invasion of Iraq or the high cost of housing. Mariano Rajoy, the new leader of the People's Party after Aznar's voluntary retirement, on his part, exploited the economical successes of his party since 1996 and attacked Zapatero's foreseeable future alliances with parties like United Left (communist) or Republican Left of Catalonia (a pro-Independence Catalan party very unpopular outside Catalonia).

One of the most important friction points was the absence of televised debates between the candidates. Zapatero was the first to propose a debate to Mariano Rajoy. Rajoy accepted on the condition that Zapatero could not be alone but accompanied at least by two of his potential allies after the election: Gaspar Llamazares (the leader of United Left a Spanish Communist Party) and Josep-Lluís Carod-Rovira (leader of Republican Left of Catalonia). Rajoy justified his decision on the grounds that, in his opinion, he was not running against the Socialist Party but against a "coalition" of forces opposed to the People's Party policies. Zapatero never formally answered this proposal and continued criticizing throughout the campaign what he always defined as Mr. Rajoy's reluctance to defend face-to-face his political program. (Zapatero has promised to change electoral law to make televised debates compulsory.)

On Thursday March 11, 2004 the most terrible terrorist attacks ever in Spanish history took place. Several commuters' trains were bombed causing 191 deaths and a terrible outrage all over Spain. The attacks took place three days before the General Election and all electoral activities were suspended. The common sorrow instead of promoting unity among Spaniards increased the already bitter tone of the campaign [21] (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6733216/site/newsweek/).

Everybody, including the People's Party government and Zapatero (who accused ETA in a radio statement broadcast at 8:50 a.m.), initially claimed the attacks to be the work of the Basque terrorist organization ETA. Aznar's government told its ambassadors [22] (http://uk.news.yahoo.com/040313/325/eog3x.html), the Spanish and international media and the other European governments that ETA was behind the crime (thus discarding Al-Qaeda) [23] (http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A64804-2004Mar16?language=printer). It asked the UN Security Council to pass a resolution condemning ETA for the attacks, unprecedently mentioning the authors' organization name. (Inocencio Arias, then Spanish ambassador at the United Nations, apologized a few days later [24] (http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/0316loseface.htm).)

Later in the day, an audio tape in Arab was found in a van near a railway station where the terrorists boarded one of the trains. Aznar declared next day (March 12, 2004) that all of the possibilities were being investigated [25] (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3504950.stm), although he still believed that ETA was the most likely option. This was the stance mainly maintained by Aznar's government: two lines of investigation were being followed with the most likely being that pointing to ETA, whose involvement was never discarded.

The government explanations and information did not satisfy an important number of Spaniards. In fact, it was increasingly accused of manipulating the existing information about the real authorship of the attacks to avoid the consequences of public anger at a bombing "caused" by its foreign policy. The virulence of the criticism increased as election day approached, being fostered by events like the broadcasting of the film Asesinato en Febrero (a documentary about a murder committed by ETA) by the Spanish Public Television, TVE, without previous scheduling on March 13, 2004; what was considered an attempt to influence public opinion[26] (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Jos%E9_Luis_Rodr%EDguez_Zapatero#fn_AsesinatoEnFebrero).

Zapatero has himself repeatedly accused the Popular Party of lying about the authorship of the attacks, but only after the election. On the other hand, Zapatero has been accused of telling the Spanish media that suicidal bombers had been found among the victims in the hours following the blasts (although all the specialists that examined the bodies said they found no evidence pointing to that) [27] (http://www.periodistadigital.com/object.php?o=31156). (When he was asked in December 2004 about the issue by the Parliamentary Investigative Committee created to find the truth about the attacks he declared that he did not "remember" what he had said.)

On March 13, 2004 (the day before the election, called reflection day in Spain), demonstrations protesting the government "manipulative" attitude took place in front of the People's Party premises all over Spain. The demonstrators were summoned by text messages sent from mobile phones. The People's Party later accused the Socialist Party of having organized the demonstrations and even of having sent text messages using automatic devices it would possess. That claim was specially serious as demonstrations are forbidden by law during reflection day. The accusation has never been seriously investigated as no enough evidence has been found to start a judicial process and the committee created to investigate the attacks and what happened between March 11 and March 14, did not come to any conclusion about this.

The next day, on March 14, Zapatero won the election with the PSOE obtaining 164 seats, and the People's Party 148. The Socialist Party could not fully enjoy its triumph because of the shadow of what had happened the three previous days. The happy crowd gathered to celebrate the victory in front of the Socialist Headquarters cried to Zapatero: "Don't fail us!", probably remembering the disappointment caused by the former Socialist government in its last years.

Today is accepted that the electoral result was influenced by the attacks [28] (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Jos%E9_Luis_Rodr%EDguez_Zapatero#fn_ElMundoPoll). Regarding this, there exists several points of views:

  • The attacks changed the electoral winner. A sufficient number of voters decided to vote for the Socialist party either because they disliked the "manipulation" of Aznar's government or because they did not want to suffer the consequences of a foreign policy they disliked.
  • The attacks did change the result but not the winner. The Socialist Party was going to win but with fewer votes.

An important point of controversy is if the attacks were planned to cause a Socialist victory. The "March 4 theory", defended among others by José María Aznar, states that the attacks would have taken place on March 4 if the election had been scheduled for March 7. No definitive data proves it but some facts have been used to support it. For example, the first question Jamal Zougam (one of the first arrested suspects) made when he arrived at the courthouse on Monday March 15, 2004 was: 'Who won the election?' [29] (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4571262/site/newsweek/).

In any case, some foreign media, especially in the US, considered the electoral result to be a result of fear and that it would encourage further terrorist attacks as Zapatero had opposed Bush's policy in the Middle East and had promised to withdraw the Spanish troops from Iraq. Left-wingers, among others, rejected that, pointing out that the Spanish people have lived in defiance of ETA for decades and Zapatero himself had firmly condemned terrorism repeatedly.

On June 13, 2004 (three months after the General Election) the Election for the European Parliament took place. The Socialist Party won again with 25 seats against 24 for the People's Party (out of 54). Although José Borrell was the official candidate, Zapatero played an important role in that campaign (as it is usual in Spain). The new triumph seemed to dissipate the doubts about the causes of his previous victory. They were not totally closed as the difference between the two parties lowered to a minimum (only a seat).

Appointment by the Congress and inauguration

Zapatero had won the election but lacked the necessary absolute majority needed to ensure his appointment as Prime Minister (176 are needed for that, he counted only with 164 MPs).

Between the Election Day and the debate prior to his election by the Congress of Deputies (Congreso de los Diputados) a period of consultations and negotiations with different political groups started. In the end, Zapatero obtained the support of United Left and Republican Left of Catalonia, allowing him to be elected in the first vote cast by the lower house, the Congress of Deputies.

The support of Zapatero's allies was intentionally obtained without drafting an official agreement for the rest of his term of office. Because of that, the Socialist Party needs to negotiate with the rest of political forces before any vote takes place in the Parliament. PP leader Mariano Rajoy has repeatedly accused Zapatero's government of being weak due to its lack of permanent support.

As a Prime Minister, Zapatero has been the first leader of a Spanish government to have the same number of male and female ministers. He has declared himself to be a feminist.

Prime Minister

Domestic policy

In 2004, the CIA world factbook summed up the initial Rodríguez Zapatero intentions saying that "he plans to reduce government intervention in business, combat tax fraud, and support innovation, research and development, but also intends to reintroduce labor market regulations that had been scraped by the Aznar government". Other important problems in Spain are terrorism, the traditional territorial tensions, housing, unemployment, immigration, economical competitiveness, the low birthrate, domestic violence, etc.

He himself summarized his first decisions and intentions in an interview (http://www.time.com/time/europe/magazine/article/0,13005,901040927-699350,00.html) published by Time Magazine on September 19, 2004: "[...] I increased the minimum wage and education grants and scholarships; I've proposed new laws on gender-based violence, reform of divorce laws, homosexual marriage and extensions of civil rights. I want to increase our spending on research and development by 25%. That's something the U.S. does very well. That dynamism alongside a welfare state in the European community - that's the synthesis I want to achieve."

Since the first moment, Zapatero also announced his intention to undertake limited reforms to the Spanish Constitution (but he has not made clear yet what he wants exactly to reform, how and why [April 2005]).

The legalization of same-sex marriage (expected for the Summer of 2005) will include adoption rights. The recognition of homosexual marriage and the project of legalizing euthanasia (later withdrawn) together with the changes in the teaching of religion in school and the projects of modifying the financing scheme of the Catholic Church are the main factors in the growing tension between the Socialist government and the Roman Catholic Church. [30] (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6885557/site/newsweek/).

The first law his government passed was against gender violence. At first, Zapatero wanted it to protect only women, forgetting other victims like children, elders or men. According to the General Council of the Judicial Power (Consejo General del Poder Judicial), that stance made the initial draft unconstitutional as it discriminated citizens for its sex. Finally, the text was changed and the term 'especially vulnerable victim' substituted that of 'woman' in the articles defining the new punishments established by the law. After that change, it was approved by unanimity in the parliament. (Text of the law (http://www.boe.es/boe/dias/2004-12-29/pdfs/A42166-42197.pdf).)

Zapatero has often declared that his government will not be "soft on terrorism" and will not allow regional nationalists to endanger Spanish unity. This comment was aroused, probably, for his party alliances with parties like Republican Left of Catalonia.

The biggest defiance against Spanish unity has come from Juan José Ibarretxe [31] (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6823214/) - the head of the Basque Regional Government. His so-called Ibarretxe Plan is a reform of the statute now regulating the Basque Autonomous Community considered almost equivalent to a declaration of independence by its opponents. The plan was drafted by the Basque regional government and approved by the regional legislature over the opposition of the Socialist and People's parties. The People's Party pressured Zapatero to prevent the vote from taking place, but Zapatero, insisted on debating and voting it. The Spanish National Parliament rejected the plan, as was expected because it was opposed by both the Socialist and People's Party. The plan then became a major issue in the campaign of the Basque parliamentary election held on April 17, where its main proponent, the Basque Nationalist Party, suffered an important lost of votes. Zapatero has stated that he will support in the national parliament any statute reform supported by two-thirds of the Basque parliament (which would include the Socialist Party given the distribution of seats in it).

One of the most important Zapatero's electoral promises was to make housing more accessible. Housing prices have increased largely in Spain, mostly since 2001. For that purpose he created a new ministry. The Minister of Housing (Ministra de la Vivienda) has declared that her intention is not to reduce housing prices but to allow people to obtain a house more easily. In Zapatero's first year as prime minister the cost of buying a house has increased around 17% on average, figure similar to those before being appointed [32] (http://www.elmundo.es/mundodinero/2004/11/16/Noti20041116095929.html).

In October 2004 Zapatero's government undertook the task of morally and legally rehabilitating those who were suppressed during and after the Spanish Civil War, by instituting a Memory Commission chaired by Vice-president María Teresa Fernández de la Vega. Some accused him of deliberately forgetting the incidents in Republican territory affecting right-wing victims. Zapatero's grandfather's, in his will, called on family members to clear his name "when the time is right", as has been already said.

In December 2004, Zapatero became the first prime minister to face an Investigative Committee after being interrogated by the Committee created to discover the truth about the March 11 attacks [33] (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6703389/).

Foreign policy

Zapatero.
Enlarge
Zapatero.

Zapatero's foreign policy decisions have played an important role in his activity.

Zapatero claims to favor a multilateral world with the United Nations playing a fundamental role. He has also affirmed his view that a strict respect to international law is essential for keeping peace (clearly in reference to the Iraq war). The first time he talked before the United Nations Assembly he proposed an Alliance of Civilizations as the solution for the world's problems.

Foreign policy is one of the areas where Zapatero differs most from his predecessor José María Aznar. Aznar defended a foreign policy based on two pillars. One of them was a strong alliance with the United States. The other was a peripheral European strategy where Spain would emphasize its friendship with European countries like Italy, the United Kingdom or Poland in order to compensate French and German power. Zapatero has preferred to focus in what he considered to be the core countries of the European Union, mainly France and Germany, which would form along with Spain a strong block opposed to American preponderance and aimed at directing Europe destiny.

Following his political creed, Rodríguez Zapatero, soon after winning the election, ordered back home the 1300 Spanish troops in Iraq. The scheduled return date coincided with the beginning of the European Election political campaign (what was not casual according to some critics, as the opposition to Aznar's Iraq policy had been high among Spaniards). The Socialist victory in March and his announcement of the withdrawal coincided with a serious growth in the amount of terrorist abductions in Iraq intended to blackmail the victims' countries governments.

During the electoral campaign Zapatero had promised to withdraw the troops if control in Iraq was not passed to the United Nations after June 30th (the ending date of the initial Spanish military agreement with the multinational coalition that had overthrown Saddam Hussein). He declared that he did not intend to withdraw the Spanish troops before that date after being questioned about the issue by Mariano Rajoy in his inauguration parliamentary debate.

The decision aroused a high international criticism worldwide, as it was feared that the terrorists could perceive it as a victory obtained thanks to the March 11 attacks. Even the then Democrat candidate for the American Presidency, John Kerry asked Zapatero not to retire the Spanish soldiers. Some months after retiring the troops, the Socialist Government agreed to increase the number of Spanish soldiers in Afghanistan and to send troops to Haiti. It seems that one of the aims of these actions was to show the Spanish Government willingness to spend resources on international missions it approved of.

On June 8, 2004, with the withdrawal already finished, Zapatero's government voted in the UN Security Council in favor of the Resolution 1546where (http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2004/sc8117.doc.htm) could be read the following:

"The Security Council, Recognizing the importance of international support [...] for the people of Iraq in their efforts to achieve security and prosperity [...], Recognizing that international support for restoration of stability and security is essential to the well-being of the people of Iraq [...], and welcoming Member State contributions in this regard [...], Affirming the importance of international assistance in reconstruction and development of the Iraqi economy [...],

15. Requests Member States and international and regional organizations to contribute assistance to the multinational force, including military forces, as agreed with the Government of Iraq, to help meet the needs of the Iraqi people for security and stability, humanitarian and reconstruction assistance, and to support the efforts of UNAMI;"

Later, during a visit to Tunisia, he asked all of the countries with troops in Iraq to withdraw their soldiers thus imitating his decision. This declaration moved the U.S. president George W. Bush to send an angry letter to the Spanish premier. Later, the American ambassador to Spain refused to go to the annual National Holiday military parade on October 12, 2004 as a response to Zapatero's behavior the previous year.

Zapatero publicly stated his support for John Kerry as a candidate running the American Presidential Election in November 2004. After they took place, Bush never returned Zapatero's congratulation phone call. (The White House firmly denied that Bush's intention was snubbing the Spanish prime minister. [34] (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,11069-1354071,00.html)) Zapatero has repeatedly insisted that Spain relations with the United States are good.

Another change in Spanish foreign policy was Zapatero's decision to approach extreme left-wing leaders such as Fidel Castro or the President of Venezuela Hugo Chávez. Zapatero has played an important role in the improvement of the relation between the Cuban Communist regime and the European Union.

On the issue of Gibraltar, Zapatero initially took a strong line with the United Kingdom, complaining at Gibraltar's celebrations for the tercentenary of its independence from Spain. Zapatero's government could have considered those celebrations a provocation due to the tensions caused by the Spanish withdrawal in Iraq.

At the end of 2004, Zapatero decided to change his policy and to become the first Spanish prime minister to accept the participation of Gibraltar as a partner in the same level than Spain and the United Kingdom in the discussions both countries hold regularly about the colony. The Spanish opposition considered the decision a surrender of the Spanish rights over the British colony. Zapatero justified it as a new way to solve a 300 hundred years old problem.

Regarding the writing of the European Constitution, Zapatero accepted the distribution of power proposed by countries such as Germany and France, abandoning Poland, that had defended until then the same stance than the Spanish previous government. That new distribution meant a loss of influence for Spain, but Zapatero accepted it even without any compensation for his country. After signing up the treaty in Rome together with other leaders, he decided to call for a referendum on it, which was held on February 20, 2005. It was the first in Europe (a fact high publicized by Zapatero's government). The turnout was the lowest in Spanish history, only 41%. Of those 75% voted in favor of the European Constitution, which had been defended by the most important parties (including the Socialist Party and the People's Party). [35] (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6967515/)

In December 2004, Zapatero, after attending the Parliamentary Investigative Committee about the March 11 terrorist attacks for 15 hours, decided to suspend his meeting with the Polish government, scheduled for the next day in Poland. He argued, literally that "he felt a little tired". Some days later Zapatero was scheduled to meet the Polish Prime Minister in a European summit to be held in Brussels. This meeting did not take place either after the airplane of the Polish leader was said to have suffered an unexpected delay. All this was feared to aggravate the already damaged Spanish-Polish relations after Zapatero's decision to change the Spanish stance regarding the European Constitution. However, some time later, an official meeting meant a reconciliation of both nations.

On March 1 2005 he became the first Spanish prime minister to speak to the French National Assembly.

At the end of March 2005, he traveled to Venezuela to draw a deal to sell Hugo Chavez's regime military ships and aircraft worth around $1000 million. The decision was criticized by the American Government and the People's Party. Zapatero has claimed that the equipment sold had no offensive power.

Personal Data

On January 27, 1990, Zapatero married Sonsoles Espinosa Díaz, the daughter of military officer (Rafael Espinosa Armendáriz) [36] (http://www.minutodigital.com/noticias/sonsoles.htm). Sonsoles studied law and is an opera singer and a music teacher. She cried when he was elected first Secretary General and Prime Minister because of the change it supposed for their family life ([OCAM p. 206]). He is father of two girls, Laura (1993) and Alba (1995).

He has been the first Spanish prime minister who has not shown his family to the public media, as there do not exist available recent images of his two young daughters. The Spanish people do not know how his wife's voice sounds as she has never said anything in public (April 2005).

Zapatero is only fluent in Spanish and has some rough basic knowledge of English. His father sent him to Britain several summers to help him learn English. After being appointed Secretary General he received daily classes by a private teacher. [OCAM p. 66]

Some of his hobbies are fishing trout, walking on the countryside, jogging or reading political essays [OCAM p. 20]. His favorite sports are football and basketball. Rodríguez Zapatero is a supporter of the Barcelona football team. It seems probable he decided to support Barcelona because it was preferred by left-wingers, as Real Madrid (the other most important Spanish team) was considered a symbol of Franco's regime, especially favored by him because of its international successes. Zapatero, however, affirms that he chose it because a famous striker from León, César Rodríguez Álvarez, had played for the team in the 1940's. In any case, all of his friends preferred Real Madrid. [OCAM p. 68]

He smokes. He used to be quite a compulsive smoker in his University years but now he has lowered down to a few cigarettes a day. His drinking of alcohol has always been moderate, even in his youth [OCAM p. 73].

Notes

  1. Template:AnbA common taunt used against him is 'Zapatero. ¡A tus zapatos!', which is a Spanish expression meaning 'get on with it' and literally translated would mean 'Cobbler. Get back to your shoes!'
  2. Template:Anb His mother died of cancer on October 30, 2000, after his appointment as leader of his party. He was very affected by the event. [OCAM p. 290]
  3. Template:Anb See theinterview (http://www.periodistadigital.com/espana/object.php?o=67438) with Ricardo de la Cierva, famous Spanish historian and former right-wing minister, published by the Semanario Alba on May 12, 2005, for a testimony supporting that hypothesis.
  4. Template:Anb Upon being elected, Zapatero promised that primary elections would be used to elect candidates in the future [OCAM p. 274].
  5. Template:Anb Suresnes is a French city where Felipe González was appointed Secretary General in the 1970's.
  6. Template:Anb According to [37] (http://marenostrum.org/ecologia/medio_ambiente/prestige/) the Prestige accident started 28 miles away from the Cape Fisterra in Galicia. The territorial waters of Spain extends for only 12 miles.
  7. Template:Anb After the election took place, Alfredo Urdaci, in charge of the news of the public channel until the Socialist victory, declared the decision of broadcasting Asesinato en Febrero was made by Juan Menor, then director of TVE, what he has denied. Juan Menor kept his job until December 2004 when he was fired for the bad audience rate of the channel, what made him one of the few top executives who was not immediately removed by the new Socialist government. [38] (http://canales.elcorreodigital.com/auladecultura/urdaci5.html)[39] (http://www.elmundo.es/documentos/2005/01/20/urdaci/urdaci18.html).
  8. Template:Anb According to a poll published a year after the attacks by the Madrid newspaper El Mundo, 70% of the Spaniards believed that the attacks contributed decisively to the Socialist victory.

References

  • [OCAM] Óscar Campillo Madrigal. Zapatero. Presidente a la Primera. 1st ed. updated. (La Esfera de los Libros, Spain, April 2004). ISBN 84-9734-193-7.

See also

External links

Official

Press

Spanish


Preceded by:
José María Aznar
Prime Minister of Spain
2004—present
Succeeded by:
incumbent

Template:End boxbe:Хасэ-Луіс Радрыґес-Сапатэро ca:José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero da:José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero de:José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero es:José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero eo:José Luis RODRÍGUEZ ZAPATERO fr:José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero it:José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero nl:Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero ja:ホセ・ルイス・ロドリゲス・サパテロ no:José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero pl:José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero ro:José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero sv:José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero

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